We are looking for fellowship proposals that meet the following three objectives:
- useful research: proposals that will act as ‘pathfinders’ for conducting research and deriving insights from the datasets, which showcase the potential for policy impact and public benefit
- useful data: to develop the data as a useful research resource for future users
- useful engagement: to foster opportunities between academia, government, the third sector and the public that allow fresh thinking to flourish and maintain public acceptance for the use of data for research purposes.
Read the Administrative Data Research UK (ADR UK) research fellowships specification (PDF, 164KB) for more information on these objectives.
Aims of the research
ESRC expects you to consider the potential scientific, societal and economic impacts of your research, with relevant outputs, a dissemination plan and clear communication of the impact of the research as key parts of the criteria for most peer review and assessment processes.
It is therefore important to set out how you intend to identify and actively engage relevant users of the research, as well as other stakeholders.
Stakeholders may come from within and beyond the academic community, including:
- the public sector
- the private sector
- civil society
- the general public.
You should also include evidence of any existing engagement with relevant end users. You should articulate a clear understanding of the needs of the end users of your proposed research, and consider ways to meet or impact those needs.
Opportunities for making an impact may arise, and should be taken, at any stage during the research life cycle. This includes:
- the planning and research design stage
- the period of funding
- all activities that relate to the project, up to and including the time when funding has ended.
The research life cycle involves:
- knowledge exchange and impact realisation activities, including reporting and publication
- the archiving, future use, sharing and linking of data.
You must have in place a robust strategy to maximise the likelihood of impact opportunities and your own capacity to take advantage of them.
To be effective, all communication, engagement and impact activities must be planned in detail and properly resourced in the proposal. Throughout the relevant sections of the research proposal, applicants should therefore actively consider how these impacts can be maximised and developed.
Further information about how impact should be considered in the proposal can be found in the Je-S guidance document (PDF, 281KB).
We have summarised research interests from the Ministry of Justice, Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) and key stakeholders below.
The Ministry of Justice research priorities are set out in the departmental areas of research interest (ARI) 2020. Other research questions are also welcomed providing you can evidence policy-relevance.
Strong applications will demonstrate links to the Ministry of Justice ARI and research priorities set out below. However, this is not an exhaustive list and you are encouraged to think creatively about opportunities across these three objectives, which will enhance the aims of your project and development.
We understand that new opportunities may arise during the research phase of your project and plans may need to change accordingly.
Successful fellows will meet with ADR UK to review their impact and development phase plans during month nine of their fellowship to discuss any required changes and adjustments. We will work flexibly throughout the fellowship to consider change requests and support emerging opportunities.
Research topics are outlined below.
Long-running proceedings (protracted proceedings) and their impact on children and families
The data will help us better understand the journey of protracted cases in the family justice system. Research would help improve our understanding of which kinds of proceedings these tend to be, and the characteristics of children and families that tend to be involved in such cases.
Also, research would help to uncover whether there have been any changes pre-pandemic and post-pandemic.
Repeat use of the family court
Overall research can help inform our understanding of repeat use of the family court and whether and how this may be reduced.
Key questions include:
- who are our repeat users?
- what are their demographic characteristics?
- do the same parties return to the court in different contexts
- how many and what proportion are ‘legitimate’ returns to court and what proportion are protracted cases?
How public and private law cases overlap
The data will help us better understand this overlap, about which we have limited knowledge.
Key questions include:
- what proportion of private cases have had previous public law proceedings and vice versa?
- what are the characteristics of these users?
- what are their pathways through the court and the outcomes for these groups?
The characteristics of cases involving litigants in person (those in court without legal representation)
The data will help us better understand the nature of these cases and how they differ from cases where there is legal representation. Key questions include:
- how many cases involve litigants in person?
- do their length of proceedings differ from those represented?
- what is the rate of return?
- what are their characteristics?
The data will help us understand the extent to which there is regional variation (by local authority or court area) in the way family courts are dealing with cases. Key areas to explore include:
- public and private law applications and orders made
- the way cases progress through proceedings
- the numbers and type of repeat cases
- the difference between applications sought and orders made and in whether the journey length or characteristics of a case differ by type of presiding judge (magistrate, district judge, circuit judge)
- are certain areas in England and Wales more likely to have repeat users than others?
Use of mediation
The data will help us understand the extent to which mediation is being used and in what circumstances.
Key questions include:
- what types of cases attempt mediation within the family jurisdiction?
- is there a link between cases that have not had mediation having repeat users and the case returning to court?
Impact and development phase (up to three months)
For the impact and development phase, you can include activities that cover the below.
- tailoring communication to a non-academic audience through the production of short documents or media products
- organising an event that involves a wide range of stakeholders including policymakers and practitioners and that maintain public trust
- coordinating activities to establish networks and relationships with research users
- developing activities to influence policy.
Research synthesis, cohort leadership and engagement
- time to co-operate with other fellows on co-authored journal articles and other research outputs (this funding cannot be used for article processing charges)
- liaising with other fellows to organise a research event focused on an area of shared interest aimed at building community and enhancing bodies of knowledge
- activities that pass on your expertise and help build a wider cohort of researchers who are better able to carry out research using the data from your fellowship.
Training and development opportunities
- training offered by you to the wider research community in support of enhancing capability to conduct administrative data research
- training for yourself to allow you to capitalise on opportunities or enhancing your capability as an administrative data research leader. We expect training in the phase of the project to focus on skills related to impact and knowledge exchange or skills relevant to leading and delivering future research projects.
What we will fund
Applications can be for either part-time or full-time research fellows, but the recommended minimum is 60% full time equivalent.
Proposals may also include:
- salaries, plus nominated research support staff or mentorship time (mentorship is a requirement for applications from early career researchers)
- travel and subsistence
- project-specific engagement or events
- public engagement
- production of outputs
- training: applicants should include a £2,000 ring-fenced training budget in their applications. This does not need to be broken down until the start of your project and counts towards the total full economic cost limit of the fellowship application.
Accreditation and approval
You will need to become an accredited researcher of the ONS Secure Research Service platform. If you are not already an accredited researcher then they can apply for accreditation through the Research Accreditation Service.
Read the safe researcher training list.
If you are already an accredited researcher, then you can access your data through the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage homepage.
Successful applicants will also need to have their project approved under the data owners’ information governance review process.
Funding will last up to 15 months. This includes a research phase up to 12 months at 1.0 full time equivalent, followed by an impact and development phase up to three months at 0.5 full time equivalent.
Research phase (up to 12 months)
This should cover typical research project stages including project set up, analysis and delivery of the research aims of your project. Some impact and development (training) activities might be appropriate during this phase but you will have dedicated time at the end of your project for this too.
Key outputs during this phase will include:
- a project page
- a blog
- data insights and data explained published reports.
Impact and development phase (up to three months)
This phase should be dedicated toward building on the momentum from your research phase and maximising opportunities for knowledge exchange, impact and development opportunities.
Activities during this phase should enhance the research goals and policy impact of your work. Wider activities may also contribute to your own development, and support the wider research community using administrative data.